PHOTOS/REPORT: Artie Zaitz, Mark Kavuma, Dario di Lecce and Shane Forbes at Kansas Smitty's in Broadway Market

Mark Kavuma.
Photo credit: Victor Hugo Guidini

Sebastian writes: 

Having heard so many good things about the vibe downstairs at the Wednesday 'Basement Tapes' series at Kansas Smitty's bar in Broadway Market, I was pleased finally to get down there, in the company of Brazilian photographer Victor Hugo Guidini who got right close up to the stage to photograph a band led by Polish-born guitarist Artie Zaitz. Zaitz had put together a programme of Thelonious Monk tunes.

The music takes place in a cosy basement, and the place progressively fills up during the evening. Young folk, a lot of couples - perhaps there really is a Valentine season - seem to know the drill. I would guess that fewer than a quarter of the audience were alive when Monk died in 1982. But it is an audience thoroughly at ease with this music. They applaud, they appreciate. They also chat, but not at a level to disturb the enjoyment. And there was one quite wonderful moment when bassist Dario di Lecce proved the old adage that 'if you want to be heard, play quetly.' On Straight No Chaser he played at the level of pianissimo for which Simon Rattle wants to build a new concert hall. Suddenly, everyone twigged. every single conversation was suspended.

Another player who really holds the attention is trumpeter Mark Kavuma. He was finding endless ways of delivering unexpected, angular phrases. In this small room you hear every nuance of his very present and strong, characterful, unamplified sound. Being that close to a fine trumpeter's bell is a treat.

Shane Forbes
Photo credit: Victor Hugo Guidini

Shane Forbes was demonstrating comfort and assurance at all kinds of different feels and paces and moods, from producing shimmering atmosphere around slow ballads to just sitting back and riding the fast waves of a tune like Rhythm-A-Ning. And I liked the way leader guitarist Artie Zaitz constructed a solo,  starting with disjoint fragments and gradually building the length of the lines and the intensity. It was also great to see and hear lively guest Ruben Fox in the second half. Anyone who can slip a nifty Brahms Lullaby quote (as in "Guten Abend, gute Nacht, mit Rosen bedacht") as a sleeping draught into the final number of the night gets my vote. Jazz lives.

Artie Zaitz
Photo credit: Victor Hugo Guidini

Dario Di Lecce, Mark Kavuma, Artie Zaitz.
Photo credit: Victor Hugo Guidini

LINK: Kansas Smitty's Bar

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